Hawaii Employment Law Decisions May 7, 2017 to May 13, 2017 – Jeffrey S. Harris

U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

District Court properly granted hospital summary judgment against discriminatory removal claim.  Anesthesiologist’s unsatisfactory performance during surgery was legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for removing her from schedule and not reinstating her.  Doctor did not raise a triable issue of fact on whether the reason was pretext.  She did not show there was a culture of discrimination in the anesthesia department.  Certified registered nurse anesthetists were not similarly situated to anesthesiologists because the nurses were supervised during surgery while the anesthesiologists were not.  Senior doctor’s decision to hire another anesthesiologist did not raise pretext inference, because senior doctor supervised and discussed the disputed position with other anesthesiologist before hiring, speaking to complaining doctor or posting the position.   Bowers v. McDonald, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8396 (9th Cir. May 11, 2017).

District Court properly granted summary judgment against Rehabilitation Act claim relating to fitness for duty exam, because former employee failed to raise genuine dispute of material fact whether the examination was not job related and inconsistent with business necessity.  District Court properly granted summary judgment against contract claim, because employee failed to seek redress through his union.  Domingo v. Brennan, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8304 (9th Cir. May 10, 2017).

U.S. District Court for District of Hawaii

District Court denied motion for judgment as a matter of law against claim for breach of no compete provision in sale agreement, because seller’s breach was material, accounting was complex enough to justify equitable relief, territorial application of non-compete to world was not per se unreasonable and buyer did not breach agreement before seller.  Barranco v. 3D Sys. Corp., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70882 (D. Haw. May 9, 2017).

Note: We analyze cases to learn rules the courts will follow or disappoint us if they don’t. Rules that the courts follow allow us to behave and provide explanations they accept. But competent advocates may limit the rules to the facts of the case where they are discussed, or expand rules by showing that differences in other cases are irrelevant.